Craft store Hobby Lobby is com­ing to Santa Maria and will take over the old Toys R Us build­ing on Bradley Road.

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY KAYTLYN LES­LIE

Mega craft store Hobby Lobby is com­ing to Santa Maria.

Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Direc­tor Chuen Ng told The Tribune in an email Mon­day that the com­pany sub­mit­ted ten­ant im­prove­ment plans to the city in April, for the old Toys R Us build­ing at 1411 S Bradley Road.

Toys R Us closed in the city last spring, as the strug­gling com­pany fi­nally went out of busi­ness. Since then, Hobby Lobby has ex­pressed an in­ter­est in open­ing new stores in the for­mer Toys R Us build­ings, ac­cord­ing to a July 2018 Wall Street Jour­nal Re­port.

Those plans seem to be com­ing to fruition. Be­side the Santa Maria store, the chain has also an­nounced plans to open in Citrus Heights in an old Toys R Us build­ing this fall, and fill two open lo­ca­tions in Atlanta this year.

Ng said the Santa Maria plans are cur­rently un­der re­view, and he ex­pects them to be com­pleted within a few months.

An ex­pected open­ing date for the new busi­ness is not yet know.

Hobby Lobby me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not re­spond to re­peated re­quests for com­ment from The Tribune.

Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, Ok­la­homa City-based Hobby Lobby has more than 850 stores, and is the “largest pri­vately owned arts-and-crafts re­tailer in the world, with over 37,500 em­ploy­ees and op­er­at­ing in 46 states.”

The near­est lo­ca­tions are in Ox­nard and Bak­ers­field.

The chain is known for its role in a Supreme Court de­ci­sion in 2014, in which the court ruled that “closely held” stock cor­po­ra­tions like Hobby Lobby did not have to cover emer­gency con­tra­cep­tives for em­ploy­ees through their health in­sur­ance, be­cause of re­li­gious pref­er­ences.

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